SHERIDAN – Supplement supplier BlackOxygen Organics, which maintained a registered agent at Sheridan, recently shut down following an ongoing federal lawsuit and payment processing issues.
As The Sheridan Press recently reported, BlackOxygen Organics has been charged with fraudulent business practices and currently maintains an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau of northern Colorado and Wyoming.
BBB of Northern Colorado and Wyoming CEO Shelley Polansky said her organization plans to label BlackOxygen Organics as bankrupt on BBB’s website. If former BlackOxygen buyers have outstanding issues with the company, Polansky said, the BBB recommends contacting their credit card company to dispute the charges.
For Matt Wetherington, an Atlanta-based litigator, the case against BlackOxygen began with an advertisement. It showed a pregnant woman cradling her belly and a packet of BlackOxygen fulvic acid supplement powder.
âThe average woman loses 2 pounds of minerals per pregnancy because of her childâ¦â the ad said, âBlackOxygen Organics can help solve this problem and give the mother and her children back the minerals they need. ”
Among the hundreds of calls and emails the Wetherington law firm receives about dangerous products on the market, this one has stood out. BlackOxygen was marketing a supplement – which is less regulated by the Food and Drug Administration than prescription drugs and other products – to pregnant women and children. Wetherington has a daughter at home.
Wetherington’s cabinet filed a lawsuit Nov. 19 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The essential claim of the lawsuit: BlackOxygen supplements contain toxic levels of heavy metals.
Wetherington said independent testing indicated toxic levels of lead, mercury, potassium and arsenic in BlackOxygen’s fulvic acid products. As the products are, according to the BlackOxygen website, collected from a muddy bog in Canada, Wetherington said, the levels of each of these metals varied from sample to sample, but remained consistently high.
BlackOxygen’s internal documents, Wetherington claims, offered conflicting information on whether these items were in the company’s supplements. For example, only one BlackOxygen lab report indicated both unsafe and safe levels of lead and arsenic.
Court documents charge BlackOxygen with negligence – particularly negligence due to adulterated food products and dangerous false claims that the product is “safe for human consumption” – as well as fraudulent and misleading claims and product liability. Due to BlackOxygen’s âwillful, gratuitous and reckless conductâ, Wetherington and his cabinet requested that punitive damages be awarded to the plaintiffs.
The lawsuit is also a class action lawsuit, which means it aims to protect all U.S. residents who have purchased BlackOxygen’s fulvic acid products in the past two years.
On November 22, BlackOxygen publicly released a statement in response to the lawsuit.
“The allegations in the lawsuit are entirely false,” the statement read, “and appear to stem from false and defamatory statements posted on social media platforms by disgruntled former BlackOxygen brand partners.”
BlackOxygen did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The Wetherington company served BlackOxygen’s US operations through its registered agent: Northwest Registered Agent Service, Inc. at 30 N. Gould St. in Sheridan.
Wetherington praised the registered agents for making it easier for lawyers to serve businesses. Registered agents, Wetherington said, provide attorneys with a unique and easily located address to perform valid and legal procedural service. It would have been much more difficult for the Wetherington firm to track down the owners of BlackOxygen, the lawyer said.
Also, Wetherington said, registered agents have no responsibility for ensuring that the companies they represent are legitimate. No ethics check should delay the ability of registered agents to do their jobs, Wetherington said.
“This is the absolute best …” said Wetherington, referring to registered agent services. âIf anything, they should be replaced with robots. ”
On November 23, BlackOxygen CEO Marc Saint-Onge and President Carlo Garibaldi announced the immediate shutdown of the company. According to Wetherington, BlackOxygen claimed the shutdown was not the result of the lawsuit but because a credit card processor froze the company’s assets due to the amount of chargebacks, rebuttals and fraud reports. related to their product.
“Unfortunately, the recent turn of events has forced us to make a very difficult decision.” Saint-Onge and Garibaldi said in a statement on November 23. “Like continuing to move forward is no longer an option.”
Ultimately, Wetherington said he hopes the lawsuit will offer those affected by BlackOxygen’s products compensation, reimbursement and justice.